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Macroglossia

Macroglossia is a disorder in which the tongue is larger than normal.

Information

Macroglossia is most often caused by an increase in the amount of tissue on the tongue, rather than by a growth, such as a tumor.

This condition can be seen in certain inherited or congenital (existing at birth) disorders, including:

  • Acromegaly (buildup of too much growth hormone in the body)
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (growth disorder that causes large body size, large organs, and other symptoms)
  • Congenital hypothyroidism (decreased production of thyroid hormone)
  • Diabetes (high blood sugar caused by body producing too little or no insulin)
  • Down syndrome (extra copy of chromosome 21, which causes problems with physical and intellectual functioning)
  • Lymphangioma or hemangioma (malformations in the lymph system or buildup of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs)
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses (a group of diseases that cause large amounts of sugar to build up in the body's cells and tissues)
  • Primary amyloidosis (a buildup of abnormal proteins in the body's tissues and organs)

References

Rose E. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: upper airway obstruction and infections. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 167.

Sankaran S, Kyle P. Abnormalities of the face and neck. In: Coady AM, Bowler S, eds. Twining's Textbook of Fetal Abnormalities. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2015:chap 13.

Travers JB, Travers SP, Christian JM. Physiology of the oral cavity. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 88.

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  • Throat anatomy - illustration

    Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.

    Throat anatomy

    illustration

  • Macroglossia - illustration

    Macroglossia is a congenital disorder where the tongue is larger than normal. It is enlarged because of an increase in the amount of tissue, not because of a tumor or growth. There is also a perceived macroglossia in Down syndrome possibly because the tongue frequently protrudes.

    Macroglossia

    illustration

  • Macroglossia - illustration

    Macroglossia is a congenital disorder where the tongue is larger than normal. It is enlarged because of an increase in the amount of tissue, not because of a tumor or growth.

    Macroglossia

    illustration

  • Throat anatomy - illustration

    Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.

    Throat anatomy

    illustration

  • Macroglossia - illustration

    Macroglossia is a congenital disorder where the tongue is larger than normal. It is enlarged because of an increase in the amount of tissue, not because of a tumor or growth. There is also a perceived macroglossia in Down syndrome possibly because the tongue frequently protrudes.

    Macroglossia

    illustration

  • Macroglossia - illustration

    Macroglossia is a congenital disorder where the tongue is larger than normal. It is enlarged because of an increase in the amount of tissue, not because of a tumor or growth.

    Macroglossia

    illustration

 

Review Date: 5/17/2019

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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